HARTFORD, May 5 – Scott Burcham’s bloop single down the right field line knocked in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, lifting the Hartford Yard Goats to an 9-6 Eastern League victory over the Portland Sea Dogs Saturday night, before a sellout crowd of 6,726 at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
It was the Yard Goats’ team-record 10th straight victory at home and pushed the club to a season-high four games over .500. Hartford (16-12) is now 8-2 against Portland (7-17) this season.
Added to the Yard Goats roster on Friday from extended spring training with the Colorado Rockies organization, Burcham was making his first start. He went 2-for-3 at the plate, adding an RBI-double to his game winning hit. The Yard Goats tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth inning uprising on a throwing error by Portland reliever Trevor Kelley.
Hartford jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on an upper deck, three-run home run to right by Dom Nunez in the third inning. Burcham increased the edge to 4-0 on an RBI-double off the netting in right in the fourth inning. All the runs came against Portland left-hander Dedgar Jimenez, who gave up six hits, walked three and struck out three.
The Sea Dogs chipped away at the lead against Yard Goats starter Ryan Castellani, who hit the first two batters to start the fifth inning. After a Danny Mars’ single loaded the bases, Jeremy Rivera walked to bring home one run. Cole Sturgeon’s fielder’s choice ground out cut the lead in half, 4-2. Castellani was lifted after five innings, allowing two runs on two hits and three walks.
Portland tied the game in the sixth inning at 4-4 on a two-run home run to left by Nick Lovullo, the son of Arizona Diamond Backs manager and former Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo. It was Lovullo’s first Double-A home run and it came off of Hartford reliever Craig Schlitter, a Guilford native.
The Yard Goats got the lead back in the sixth on RBI-singles by Omar Carrizales and Wes Rogers, but Portland tied it in the eighth inning, 6-6, on a two-run double by Austin Rei, off of Jason Garcia, who ended up with the win. Scott Griggs pitched a scoreless ninth to notch his second save.
Nunez had a homer, two hits and three RBI and Burcham two hits and two RBI to pace Hartford’s 11-hit attack. Garrett Hampson and Sam Hilliard each had two hits, while Carrizales added a hit and three runs scored. Hartford had four stolen bases to add to their league-leading total of 43.